Friday, September 11, 2009

Residentail Solar 101 is live!

I'm thrilled to say that my new company's site, is live! My co-founder Clayton and I wanted to build a site to help home owners learn about adding solar power to their home and after a few short months the company is up and running and the site is live. We have sections on:
Solar Power Basics
Solar Technology
Payment Options
And last but certainly not least we have a Free Evaluation form that home owners can fill out if they want to learn more about going solar and get a free solar evaluation of their home.

Please check it out! And if you like it, we'd love a link to from your blog or site!

Monday, June 1, 2009

MTB Tire Sealant

It's been a while since I last posted, but my weekend of mountain biking in Tahoe has me more motivated. In particular, I feel the need to write a bit about Stans NoTubes Tire Sealant and the Caffelatex sealant. If this is Greek to you, then no need to read on, but if you're a bike geek, then keep reading. :)

I've been running Stan's in various tires for about 2 yrs now and switched to Caffelatex on my MTB 2 months ago since it seemed like the thinner Caffelatex solution might not dry up as fast as Stans, and it also seemed like the foaming action may actually do a better job of sealing the tires.

The Caffelatex was just as easy to set up as Stan's, and I think it does a better job of initially sealing the tires. I started with one wheel with Stans and one with Caffelatex, the one with Caffelatex would lose less air pressure over the course of a few days. Then I switched 'em both over to Caffelatex. So far so good...

However, I hate to report that yesterday I got a 1mm or maybe 2mm cut in my MTB tire (WTB WeirWolf 2.55 LT) and the Caffelatex was not able to re-seal it. I rode it for a mile or so with the solution spraying out all over the back of my bike & leg before my buddies pointed it out to me. Then I stopped, put my finger over the puncture and rotated it into the down position so the sealant was pooled up right above it. It's been my experience that with Stans this will help it seal. Didn't work. It just kept slowly bubbling out. Then I lowered the air pressure to the point that it stopped bubbling out and seemed to seal. I ride at 28 psi generally, but I would guess had to lower it to 15 or 20 to get it to seal. Ok, no problem, we had a long sandy climb coming up, and I figured I could use the traction that comes with lower PSI. I started riding and sure enough, it kept leaking. Ultimately I had to put in a tube after a few minutes of climbing. Grrr...

Compare that with my race at the Sea Otter Classic 2 yrs ago where I put in 3mm cut in a similar tire with Stans with about 2 miles to go (long uphill), kept racing and was able to climb out and finish with about 18 psi in the tire. I took 4th in my category, and changing a tire would have cost me a podium finish at Sea Otter, which was my main go for the season.

I thought I preferred Caffelatex, and even got my local shop to start carrying it, but after this experience, I'm switching back. I don't want to risk having to change a tire at the Downieville XC.

I'm starting to realize that any of these sealants are great for:
- initially sealing a tire with you first mount it
- preventing pinch flats
- allowing you to run lower tire pressure (better traction)
- sealing pin prick punctures that would normally cause a tube to go flat.

However, I do not think they work for sealing bigger holes in tires. Stans has all sorts of videos of them putting nail holes in tires and having it seal right away. That may be the case for nails, but one piece of glass in my Hutchinson Tubeless road tire (2mm hole) and it was toast. The Stans couldn't re-seal it. Likewise, 3mm in a MTB tire and it's toast.

Will I keep running Stans? Absolutely. Does it do everything they claim? ("When properly used, it will seal up to 1/4 inch punctures") Not in my experience.

What I am going to do is put Stans in the tire I punctured over the weekend and see if it does a better job of sealing it since the Caffelatex wasn't able to.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Cheese Souffle

One of my childhood favorites was definitely Cheese Souffle. So tonight we decided to have a go at it. The only issue is that I'm somewhat lactose intolerant. Or at least I used to be. We looked at a bunch of recipes and decided on Martha Stewart's. The only issue was that it called for 2 cups of Parmesan Cheese and Sour Cream. While shopping we found dairy free sour cream substitute, so we thought we'd give it a go. However when we got home we realized we only had 12oz of the substitute, but it called for 16oz. We opted to skim 4oz of yogurt off of the top of a "fruit on the bottom" strawberry yogurt. :) But I digress.

Katie handled most of the measuring, and mixing, and I spent lots of time separating beating the egg whites. We started with the yogurt & sour cream substitute, sifted in the flour, added the egg yolks one by one, added the salt, chives, cayenne, and parmesan. We then beat the whites until they were stiff, then gently folded them into the sour cream & egg mixture. In her video, Martha Stewart said that the key to folding was to think about chiffon. Think "light and airy". And I must say, when watching Katie fold, I could see the difference between when she was and was not thinking of chiffon.

The final product tasted fantastic, however Martha said it would rise to be 2 inches above the rim and turn golden brown. Our was perfectly golden brown, however we had no such rising. Ours stayed at least 1 inch below the rim. Damn. But it did taste great!

So, how the heck do we get it to rise next time? Any tips?

Friday, January 16, 2009

Lentil & Brown Rice Extravaganza!

Tonight was our 3rd cooking expedition. Again, we followed the lead of Daniel and Nancy from Abounding Harvest. Here's a quick slideshow of our efforts:

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Three of my favorite ads

Not sure why stuffed and balloon (condom) animals are so funny, but they are.

And this speaker commercial is another all time favorite. It will make even more sense for any of you who rode in my prior Volvo.

And lastly, a great ring-tone commercial from India.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Pasta Sauce!

Last night I decided to make my own pasta sauce. I had seen a friend of mine, and fantastic chef, make home made pasta sauce a few times before, so I had some idea of what should go into it. Tomato paste, diced tomatoes, onions, garlic, oregano, basil, salt, peper, and maybe a few other things. I wanted to be sure I didn't miss anything, so I pulled out a jar of pasta sauce and looked on the back to see what the ingredients were. :) I thought that was pretty clever. I also added ground beef and mushrooms to make it fun. Like everything else I've cooked thus far, I started with oil, onions and garlic. Once I sauteed them for a while I added the ground beef, followed by the tomato paste. I then added the diced tomatoes (from a can), mushrooms, and spices. In hindsight I could have added the mushrooms earlier so that they were softer by the time the sauce was done. Otherwise, it was pretty damn good. I think I added a bit too much tomato paste, and not enough salt and pepper. But otherwise, so far so good.

Any suggestions on how to improve it? Also, any recommendations for my next dish?


Sunday, January 4, 2009

David's cooking!

After a week in Jackson, WY with friends Daniel and Nancy who run an organic farm and who are fantastic cooks, I decided to follow their lead and do some cooking of my own. Katie and I decided to start fairly easy. We started with a veggie & chicken stir-fry, I guess you could call it. We started with oil in the pan along with onions, carrots, and as we went we added garlic, bok choy, broccoli, chicken and mushroom, in that order, along with soy sauce and sesame seeds.

It was good, but not legendary. I wanted to be sure the chicken was sufficiently cooked, so I may have over done it, and in doing so probably over cooked the veggies, as all were pretty soft by the end. I'm still trying to figure out the timing for each ingredient (any suggestions on order?), as well as how to work in meat. Daniel and Nancy are vegetarians, so they cooked with tofu, seitan, and miso, which I may have to try as I figure out the timing & seasoning for meat.

Any thoughts or suggestions?